Monday, April 21, 2008

Daftdd Iwan, Alun Ffred Jones AM and property investment

1. Background

For some time I have kept a watching brief on a property investment company called Arianrhod. This company purchases local property and renovates/lets to businesses. It attracted my interest after Mr Dafydd Iwan listed the company amongst his interests on his personal web site. However the reference to him being a Director of Arianrhod was removed from his personal web site last year.

Yet in January 2008 his brother, Mr Alun Ffred Jones AM (Arfon) , added an entry to his Assembly register declaring an interest in this same company. My interest was therefore renewed.

Here is the 2003-2007 register

Here is the 2007-2011 register

The addition of Arianrhod is a notable change to the register for Mr Alun Ffred Jones AM.

2. Some Context

Arianrhod is a company that invests in property, and most of its property it seems (but not exclusively) is held in the town of Caernarfon. (source Companies House). The company has purchased property from Gwynedd Council.

The company deals in property and its purpose is to let/sell the property assets it buys to provide local business opportunities. The properties are held as company assests.

Plaid Cymru President Dafydd Iwan was, and is now, a former Director of the company called Arianrhod. (source Companies House records). It is unclear whether he still holds shares in the company.

It seems shares in Arianrhod cost £1,000 each. (source Companies House).

Alun Ffred Jones AM is also a shareholder. (Source – a new declaration in the Assembly Register of Members’ Interests January 2008).

Arianrhod owns several properties on the Square, Caernarfon. (Source Companies House)

Gwynedd Council is carrying out regeneration work on Castle Square, Caernarfon. This work was welcomed by Dfaydd Iwan who holds the regeneration portfolio for Gwynedd Council. It is work funded by the Assembly where Mr Alun fFred Jones represents the Arfon constituency.

Arianrhod has also attempted to buy the Goleuad Building in Caernarfon, Victoria Dock area, from Gwynedd Council. (Source Gwynedd Council, BBC website, Caernarfon Herald etc)

Mr Iwan sat on the Victoria Dock Joint Venture Board. This body considered the future of the Goleuad building. (source minutes of the Victoria Dock Joint Venture Board).

Gwynedd Council has refused a Freedom of Information request to release contact reports, e-mails and file notes on contact between Gwynedd Council and the company Arianrhod.

In the Assembly register of Member interests as at Jan 08 Mr Alun Ffred Jones AM makes a new entry declaring shares in the company Arianrhod. There is no parallel entry in the register for 2003-2007.

Arianrhod and Grifffilms sought grant aid from the Welsh Assembly Government for the Goleaud building. Alun Ffred Jones and Dafydd Iwan are/were directors of Arianrhod. The purchase and project did not progress but Arianrhod was involved.

3. Questions to provide clarity :

As Alun Ffred Jones AM was not declared in Companies House records as a director of Arianrhod, did he hold shares before January 2008 ?

How many and to what value ?.

What was the value of those shares and properties?

When were those shares acquired ?

Did Alun Ffred Jones AM comply with rules for declaration of interest on these shares in Arianrhod before January 2008?

Did Dafydd Iwan or Alun Ffred Jones AM declare an interest in properties on Castle Square/Y Maes when discussing publicly funded grant aid improvements to Castle Square Caernarfon ?
Does Alun Ffred Jones AM accept he has a personal financial interest in property on Castle Square Caernarfon ?
Does Mr Dafydd Iwan still have a similar financial interest in the Castle Square via shares in Arianrhod ?

Arianrhod and Grifffilms asked the Welsh Assembly Government for Grant Suppport. Alun Ffred Jones and Dafydd Iwan are/were directors or shareholders of Arianrhod. To help clarify this matter will Gwynedd release records of all e-mails, meetings and correspondence with the company Arianrhod and confirm who represented the company Arianrhod in all meetings held with the council ?

Which other Plaid Cymru representatives hold Arianrhod shares?

As a shareholder did Mr Alun Ffred Jones AM declare an interest when Arianrhod was seeking grant aid from the Assembly Government?

I invite any correction of fact in this matter and hope the answers to these questions will provide clarity on the activities of the company and reassure the public on these matters.


crinc said...

Interesting. But still a few questions for you.
1 Do you have any evidence that A FfJ held any shares before 2007/8 or are you merely on a fishing expedition?
2 Do you accept that if DI and/or AFfJ were present in meetings relating to the companies or to the maes and declared an interest -there's no problem? Again RU merely speculating here?
3 Is the Maes develpoment a good thing?
4 Are all property development companies evil? Is so in what way?
5 Do you live conspiracy theories?

Miriam Jones said...

At least Arianrhod is good for the town unlike the celtica retail outlet.Despite promises by our Gwynedd councillors who regard this development as the answer to all our problems we now find that this store has poached at least 50% of its stock from town shops! This was obviously going to happen as Caernarfon shops specilise in quality Welsh & celtic Products.
We have been thoroughly let down by all of them.

Martin Eaglestone said...

Helo crinc

1. My posting invites AFfJ to clarify this point. He knows the facts of the case and whether he has complied with declaration requirements- not me.

2. I think the facts and rules need checking - it seems unwise to attend meetings where you hold shares with a financial interest. Again any response they make will clarify this point.

3. yes - not the point of the posting.

4. No - obvious reasons

5. No just seeking some clarity of facts.



property investment company not a problem. Having a shareholding interest needs clarification. Mr Iwan played a critical role in Victoria Dock process.

Guto said...

It does seem a bit like fishing Martin. And, seeing as how you tried to make a story of this the week before the last election, it's a fishing expidition you've had plenty of time to do.

Are the minutes of Council meetings available for the public to view? If so then surely you can check whether or not DI and/or AFfJ declared their interest?

If you honestly believe there's a problem/scandal here, go investigate it - write to DI asking him, write to AFfJ asking him, go look at the minutes, search Company House for shareholder details. By not investigating it and just asking the questions on the public forum you are trying to whip up a scandal without there being any evidence whatsoever of one.

Imagine if the Daily Post ran a story asking "Did Martin Eaglestone have an extra-marital affair with his secretary - we have no evidence, we're only asking" you'd be (rightly) angry.

If there's a scandal here, go find it - don't just post rumours disguised as "questions".

Martin Eaglestone said...

Guto - as the post suggests I have done my homework and I refer to the sources in the original posting.

Dafydd was a director but seems to have stepped down last year (source companies house).

Ffred has declared his interest via the Assembly register (sourced). He is not declared as a director so I assume it is a shareholding interest.

Dafydd will have to confirm whether he retains a shareholding interest.

As publicly elected figures I see nothing out of place in posting questionsa bout these interests.

ps i don't have a secretary - phew!

Evan said...

They should go public with a statement as to their intentions past, present and future. If they only have the needs of Caernarfon in mind that can only be a good thing.